Monday, December 16, 2013

Week of December 16, 2013- Another 6 in Newcastle!

So I'll have another 6 weeks in Newcastle! It'll be good because Elder Fronk and I see a lot of good things happening so it's going to be fun to be here! Elder Fronk is going to Edmond, and my new companion is from So. Cal. He's in my zone right now, actually just a couple computers down emailing with me. He's a Spanish speaking Elder so that will be fun! That means I get extra study time while he does language study so that will be good for me! I'm excited!

We really only had 1 sweet experience this week. Well we had a lot more, but only 1 worth writing about. We unfortunately have been dropping almost all of our investigators recently, so we have been having fun doing that. Not. haha but we were tracting like 2 weeks ago and we met this lady named Lee. She's  an older lady and she said that she worked with a Mormon lady once, and she used to have a Book of Mormon, but she lost it. She said, "I don't believe what Joseph Smith believed." So we talked to her a little bit and replaced her copy of the Book of Mormon and that was cool! She said she would read it but everyone here says that so we never think much of it. Well this week we stopped by to see if she had read and she said, "Yeah I read about 1/3 of the Book of Mormon." We asked what she thought and she said, "Nephi and his brothers didn't get along did they?" Haha so we talked about that and she had a bunch of questions about the Nephites and the Lamanites. We answered a ton of those questions and it was good! Then she said, "In Jacob 2:27 it says not to have multiple wives. So why did some of the Mormons have more than one wife?" So we explained that. We talked for a while longer and she said, "You guys should come back next Thursday so we can talk more." So we hope that she finishes the Book of Mormon by then because now that she's through 2 Nephi nothing can stop her now right? Badum Pow! Haha

Well that's about it for us. I saw my first live possum. Those things are pretty big- it's crazy! We also found out the people from the show "Skunk Whispers" live like a mile away. haha I'd be shocked if anyone has seen that show, but if you have, that's in Newcastle! Anyways, that's about it for us here. Have a great week! Happy holidays! Love you all!

Showing off a picture a little girl drew for him!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week of December 9, 2013

I gotta start this email by saying that I don't like ice, snow, or any weather under 70 degrees. Elder Fronk was talking about how cold it was the other day (He's from the Bear River area, so it's cold if he's saying that) and he asked why I wasn't complaining. Haha I told him, "Elder Fronk, as soon as the temperature gets below freezing I'm just mad. I could care less if it's 30 degrees or -50 degrees. I'm just mad." Haha I just miss not having to wear so much clothing! I want the short sleeved white shirts back! Anyways that was all the complaining I plan on doing in this email.

So this was a slow week, but still a good one! We're going to have to reset the baptismal date with this family, but no worries. They're still very interested! We had a great visit with the mom the other day, and she said she really wants all her kids to be baptized, including her 20 year old son, so she's going to try to get him over so we can teach him too! That was cool. We really like them and they're a great family!

It was a pretty bad sleet storm on Thursday, but we weren't told not to work so we went and walked down Main Street and when we got to the gym to warm up a little bit the owner said, "What the heck are you two bone heads doing?" So we told him until we heard otherwise we were going to work. He said, "No you're not. You're going back to your apartment or you're staying here until I can give you a ride back." So we walked back to the apartment and right when we got back we got a text saying cars and bikes were grounded, but we were still to go out and work. So we walked back out and when we got next to the gym, he was pulling out to drive home and he saw us so he waved for us to come over. We knew he'd be mad so as soon as we opened the door I said, "We were commanded to work!" He said, "No you weren't." Haha so we got in the truck and he drove us back. We called our district leader what happened and he told us just to stay in until it stopped sleeting. So we were in until 8 that night. But we went back out that night and got to walk in the ice for an hour. That was fun!….

Anyways that night there was a ton of snow that came, so there was snow everywhere and then ice under that, so it was pretty slick and the roads were still terrible. The cars were grounded again, so it was a day of walking. The sidewalks weren't shoveled, and we couldn't find a snow shovel anywhere to do service, so we just walked about 10-13 miles on the snow and ice. It was pretty crazy! We found a new investigator though so it was worth it! Her name is Ashley and she's from Sacramento! She had us come back the next day, so we went back and taught her. She's engaged and just getting into religion. She just started the Bible and now wants to start the Book of Mormon! She was concerned about how the Bible was compiled and she thought it could be missing things, or that important things could be left out, so she was excited about the Book of Mormon! Hopefully this week we can teach her fiancé as well! We'll see!

That's about it for us here in Newcastle! The Christmas Devotional last night was great! My favorite part was during the clip where the Primary was singing and the little boy winked at the little girl right in front of Elder Russel M. Nelson. Haha Shout out to that young one! He's got guts and game! Haha I about died when I saw that- it was too funny! That reminds me so there's a family in our ward who fed us on Sunday and they have a 2 year old that can only say the word "No." So every time I asked him for a high five he'd say no, every time I asked him to pass me the ball he'd say no, and every time I said yes to him he said no. Haha I'd say "Yes!" and then he'd yell back "No!" And so I said "Yes!!" And he'd say "No!!!" Haha it was pretty cute. His dad threw me a ball and little Zander (His name is Alexander, zander for short) came and tackled me! haha His dad was a football stud, so he's been teaching him from a young age. It was funny though I looked at Elder Fronk and I said, "This is going to be a great practice!" and then I looked at Zander and I said, "Will you be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God?" Haha and he obviously said the only word he knows how, "No!" Haha so I said "What would be holding you back?" Haha the other missionaries there died laughing! I couldn't resist! Anyways, yeah that's the fun story of the week I guess!

Well be safe in the crazy weather! Hope everyone is having a great week! Happy holidays! Love you guys!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week of December 2, 2013- Thanksgiving

What a week! Last Monday we had dinner with the Clowards. They were going out of town, and their 10 year old son shot a turkey the day before, so we got a wild turkey Thanksgiving on Monday! It was gamey turkey, but it was good! Sister Cloward is from Germany and she was teaching us some German! It was fun! And a couple of the sides she made and the dessert was German, so I thought about Adam a ton. I told her that my brother speaks nearly perfect German and she said,  "I'll be the judge of that!" So she really wants to talk to Adam now!

On Tuesday we had a cool lesson with a recent convert about Patriarchal blessings, and she really wants one now! She's been baptized for just over a year now and she's read through the Book of Mormon 10+ times, D&C 5 times, the Pearl of Great Price 4 times, and Jesus the Christ. She's making her way through discourses of the Prophet Brigham Young. It's always fun going over there because she quizzes you on things like, "Where in the Book of Mormon does it talk about peeping wizards and unicorns?" And she asked us about the East winds and what those are. We had no clue. Then she asked us recently some question she had from the Brigham Young book, so she keeps us on our toes! We also helped our Ward Mission Leader finish a treehouse! That was cool! I attached a pic. We also helped a member put in her oven so she could have Thanksgiving, so we came to the rescue there!  (Turn your head to the left to see the picture- I'm technologically challenged!)

Wednesday we did our weekly service at the library, and tried a bunch of people, but not much happened. Thursday we ate at our Ward Mission Leader, the Sagastizados, house. He's from El Salvador and so we had a great meal! It was spanish chicken, pappusas, tons of chips and homemade salsa, tamales and a bunch of other gringo food. Haha it was fun though! They had a ton of friends and family over. He had us all sing I am a Child of God, and had us share a message. There were a few nonmembers there which was cool! It was extremely powerful! They had a man there who is a palm reader. He said that I'm not evil and I'll live a long time. That was good! Haha But that was basically what we did.

Friday we had district meeting, and had a couple cool finding miracles! We found a family and they said they would love to have us back to talk to them some more, so we're excited about them! Saturday we drove the Blanchard Elders to Norman to exchange back, and we ate at Red Robbin. Elder Anderson is from the Bay Area, and he's a huge football fan. So we had a very long friendly argument about which sport was ordained by God. Turns out the Monday Night Football was started the same year as FHE, and other than that the games are always played on Sunday. He says that's because God knows how special football is so he gave them permission. I said it's a crafty tool that Satan uses to get us away from Church and family home evening, and that God combats that by having us gather together in the chapel for Basketball. He'll be converted before I'm through with him! Haha

Later that day we stopped by a potential's house who we had a great experience with last Sunday. The daughter and the Mom both asked us for a Book of Mormon, so we stopped by to see if they had been reading and what they thought. Their teenage daughter said that she was telling everyone all week that she was a Mormon. Haha she met her boyfriend's dad for the first time I guess and told him she was Mormon. I guess he got all defensive and was saying, "Well you have your beliefs and I have mine." Then she started reading parts of the Book of Mormon to him! It was way sweet! She was kinda doing it playfully, but still it was really cool! So we told her that we'd love to come by when her mom was home and talk to her about the Plan our Heavenly Father laid out for us, and how it tells us where we're from, why we're here, and where we're going after this life. She said, "I'd love that! Come by tomorrow afternoon!"

So Sunday we went over there and we taught them all the Plan of Salvation. They had a ton of questions about it, and the daughter had some questions about whether or not she was going to hell because of things she's done in the past. She was really surprised that we didn't put down a hell cutout and was asking about it and we told her that almost everyone gets some degree of glory because God wants all his children to be happy. We explained that by being baptized all that she might have done in the past will be forgiven, and she'll have a fresh clean slate. She was really excited about it! So we asked them to be baptized and the daughter without hesitation said, "Yes! I want to!" Then the mom started telling us her concerns, but we resolved those. She said that she would be. Then she turned to her 14 year old son and said, "You wanna be baptized?" He said, "No not really." And she said, "What? Why not?" Haha she resolved all his concerns for him right then and there! It was cool! So we told them that we had prayerfully considered when they could have an answer to their prayer and know that these things were true, and we know that they can have the confirmation by December 28th. They accepted that date, and should be coming to the ward Christmas potluck on Friday and church on Sunday! We have a lot of work to do with them to get them ready for that date, but we're extremely excited for them! It will be such an exciting time for them!

The other miracle that happened with that lesson was it went way longer than we expected it to. So we were in there teaching until 5:10. Our dinner appointment was at 5, so as soon as we got out we pulled out the phone and the member had texted us and told us that they had to move dinner back to 5:30. It was perfect! Haha so things worked out great!

We're extremely excited for this week coming up. We have a few more people we feel we can set baptism dates with! We're extremely excited to see the work slowly but surely progressing here! Can't wait to get after it!

That's about it for us here on this side of the state. Hope all is well back home! Love you all so much! Have a great week and hope everyone survived Black Friday ok! God be with you until we email again!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week of November 25, 2013

Another week of firsts! I experienced my first ice storm this week! It was crazy! It's so weird because it's just rain, but as soon as it hits something it freezes! It was actually pretty funny.  We talked to our district leader about whether or not we should work. Well we figured we'd try it, so we walk to the member's gym to warm up and we walk in and he looks at us and says, "What are you 2 doing?" haha then he made us get in his truck and drove us home and told us to stay inside all day and he said, "If your district leader has any problems with that, tell him to call me." haha so we stayed inside all day. It was good though-  I got to study a lot!
So Monday we tried a couple investigators, but they didn't have time to talk, so we tried a couple potentials and no one was home. So we tried a guy we tracted into who has been less active for a long time now. Well we taught him the Doctrine of Christ and emphasized the Holy Ghost and how that will bless his life. It's really hard to look at a guy who just looks hollow, and is obviously missing the gospel in his life, and to have him say, "I don't see me coming back guys." It's sad, but there's nothing we can do except keep reaching out.
Tuesday we got a media referral, so we went out and tried her. She was a really nice lady! She has a son who went to Dixie State and he was baptized there.  He's been a bishop and everything since. She said that she's not interested in converting, but she let us and the member with us in and we talked for about an hour and a half, and she's a dry Mormon. She just started reading the Book of Mormon, she makes blessing dresses (So if anyone needs one of those, let me know! Haha) and she went to her nephew's baptism not too long ago. She watches conference with her son- like she's right there! Well she had a problem with how all the leadership positions are taken by men. Like how all the apostles are men, and how the priesthood is only held by men. We explained the plan of salvation with them, and I read some of Elder Christopherson's talk with her about the essential role women play. She said it makes a lot more sense. She asked us about what our thoughts were about mentally challenged people, and what our church's opinion on them is. Well we told her that they are God's most special spirits, and they are here as an example to us. She broke down crying because one of her children is mentally disabled. It was really cool to see the Spirit work with her as we taught simple truths of the gospel with her! It was fun!
Wednesday we tracted and OYMed all day. Nothing happened that day really. But Thursday we got to listen to Elder Craig A. Cardon of the 70! Wow! He talked to us for just over an hour about the Abrahamic covenant, and how we are God's tools in fulfilling the promise he made to Abraham. So we learned in depth about the scattering of Israel, and a bunch of prophecies about how the Lord said he would gather Israel. Anyways it was so cool to be instructed by him!
Friday was the ice storm, so we didn't work. Saturday was pretty bad weather too, but it was good enough that we got to go out and tract! That night we went to the Saturday evening adult session of Stake conference. Elder Cardon and another member of the 70 (Elder Reen I think was his name, but I didn't catch it....) spoke about the work of salvation. Elder Reen called Elder Fronk and I up, and asked us a bunch of questions during his talk, and so we got to go through a mini Q&A in front of everyone! haha that was crazy! Not every day a General Authority calls you up and you get to talk to everyone on the spot! Haha but it was good!
Sunday the stake presidency was reorganized. That was cool! Elder Cardon and Elder Reen gave amazing talks there too! Elder Reen spoke on charity, and how fundamental it is to our progression. Just learning to love everyone. Then Elder Cardon spoke on love too, but a little differently. He spoke about loving your spouse. He said we are only commanded in the scriptures to love 2 things with all our heart. He said the first we all know. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart. But the second people mix up. It's not to love our neighbor, because it doesn't to say to love our neighbor with all our heart. It says in D&C to love your spouse with all your heart. It was cool to hear him speak on that. Haha he talked about finding a spouse and marriage in Zone Conference a bit too! Haha he said, "Good luck writing home and explaining to your families that we talked about marriage in zone conference. I wish you all the best of luck on that one!" Haha it was weird, but he said some good stuff!
Well that's about it for me here. Hope all is well back home! I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for the love and support from you back home, and your prayers have been felt! Love you all!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week of November 18, 2013

Finally a week of not all zeros! It was good to get some new investigators and members out with us this week! We also got to build a pretty big chicken coop as well with the family that was baptized a month and a half ago.... Wow. That was already almost 2 months ago. Crazy!
Monday we were able to get a member out with us to go give a blessing to a less active member who had her gall bladder removed on Wednesday. Her husband is unordained, so we were going to go over there with their home teachers and give that blessing, but we had them come out with us a little early so we could try some people. We tried a couple who let us pray with them and invited us back, and so we went over and talked to them. He is a baptist preacher, so we knew it would be a fun lesson. So we taught the Restoration, and he had questions for EVERYTHING. He was wondering why the people in the Americas even needed to write about the Messiah because they weren't part of the Abrahamic covenant, so we showed him how they were from the tribe of Joseph, and he wanted to know everything about the Book of Mormon and how it came to be, and he had something trying to prove the restoration wrong with anything he could. But we responded to everything with scriptures, and it was just a really cool lesson to see how there's no holes in the Restoration, especially to those who know the Bible!
After that we went and gave the blessing, and it was a super powerful experience. The Spirit was super strong there, and the father definitely felt it! He left the room with the sniffles (we're pretty sure he was crying) right after the blessing. He knows that he needs to be going to church, but his job hasn't let him, and he was working nights. But he told us that he had a job interview for a job with normal hours and not working Sundays, so he if he gets it he shouldn't have to work Sundays anymore! We're praying he gets it! He's someone that could be an Elder in a couple of months, and that family can go through the temple soon as well!
Tuesday we had a lesson with a lady who's had a rough life. She's paying child support, her father passed away not too recently, she was in the 1999 tornado here which I guess was just as bad as the recent May tornado. She also had a 3 week old baby die in that, and she was very badly injured. So yeah, she's had a rough go of it. But we taught her the Plan of Salvation and she really seemed to like it. We're going back over on Wednesday to teach her more about the Book of Mormon and how we got it, where it came from, what it's for and all that good stuff. So we're excited for that lesson! Elder Fronk and I feel like she'll just latch on to the gospel and it will help her so much! So we're praying for her as well!
We got to visit a less active on Friday, and we watched President Monson's final talk in conference about constantly nourishing your testimony to protect you from the adversary. So we had a great chance to talk with her about how we can help her testimony be strengthened, so we're going to be going by once a week to read with her. We're excited because she's a great lady. So reconnecting her to the little things will bring that happiness back to her life and we can't wait to see that!
That's about all for me here. We had a good week! We have a general authority coming to the mission this week! We're excited to have him come and to learn from him! It's going to be a very good experience! Also this weekend is Stake Conference here, and they'll be reorganizing the Stake. That will be cool as well! We're excited for this week!
Well, hope that everything goes well this week! Everyone be safe and enjoy life! Love you all!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week of November 11, 2013

Well, another week of not much. We had taught 2 lessons, and one of them was to a guy who let us come back out of sympathy I guess, and after we taught the first lesson he said he wasn't interested. That frustrated us a bit… But oh well. But we do have an investigator who's taking baby steps!

Haha so Jesse is Catholic. Elder Anderson (The District Leader) and I tracted into him on an exchange. We've been teaching him for a while, but mostly just stopping by and setting appointments and reading with him. Well we finally got to teach him the Plan of Salvation, and we invited him to be baptized, and he sat there for a while and said, "You know guys I'm just not ready. I like your doctrine a lot, and I have a couple concerns with the Catholic church, but I'm Catholic and I'm not ready to change yet. I haven't told my wife I'm meeting with you guys yet. I haven't even told my mom yet!" Haha he's in his 30s… But it was hilarious! But he said that he's going to read, and if he feels that this is what he needs to do, then he will show his family, and he'll have them join with him. But he said he's not even ready to come to church, and he wants to read more. He kept saying "Baby steps fellas. Baby steps." Hahaha it was like I was on the movie "What About Bob." Haha

The only other thing I can think of is that we ordained Hugo and Juan on Sunday to the office of Priest! It was so cool! At the end Hugo pointed at Elder Owen and I and said, "You guys deserve the credit because you taught me and my family the word of God, and thank you so much for what you've done for my family!" Hearing that makes everything worth it! They're on the path to go through the temple in a year, so I'll be able to go with them! Just seeing how much the gospel has blessed them has been a huge testimony builder to me! Like they were already living the commandments, they were doing all the right things, but now that they have the Book of Mormon, and the church and priesthood in their life, they have been blessed more than I can describe! It truly is amazing how the fullness of the gospel can truly bless everyone, no matter how much faith in Christ they may already have!

That's about it for me here. Sister Larsen made my day with the letter she sent me, so be sure to thank her for that! That letter couldn't have come at a more perfect time! Oh and I'm not getting transferred! Haha transfer doctrine (transfer calls) was last night. So yeah, 6 more in Newcastle! Here we go!

Well thank you for all the love and prayers! I can truly feel them in my life. Thank you so much! Hope everyone has a great week this week because we're covenant children of God so there's no reason not to have a great week! 

Keep praying! The prayers are very much appreciated!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week of November 4, 2013

So not much to report on this week in Newcastle. We had a somewhat funny experience the other day. Well I thought so, but Elder Fronk didn't. So we found out on Monday we were going to be doing an exchange, and so Elder Fronk was freaking out because he didn't want to drive! Haha so anyways Friday comes and I turn over the keys to him. 10 minutes later I got a text that said, "So you'll never guess what happened. Here's a hint, it wasn't a miracle." Haha they got rear ended. The guy was going slow so no one got hurt, and there was no damage, but it was so funny because he was freaking out about having to drive and then he got hit less than 10 minutes after he starts! Haha I got a kick out of it!
Other than that not much to report on. Only two experiences really. The first was on the exchange. We were teaching someone and he has been working on the word of wisdom. He had a huge piece of chew in his mouth, and we were talking about ways he could quit. Well I had a thought come to my mind (I had never met him before so I didn't know the answer) but I asked him if prayer played a role in his quitting. He thought for about 30 seconds and then said, "You know, I haven't really done that, but when I did a couple times it really helped, so I'm going to start doing that." So that was way sweet! It was just an intense experience and we had a couple more inspired question. His neighbor was sitting out there with him as well, and he said he wasn't interested. But as we continued to teach the Doctrine of Christ he got really interested, and at the end he accepted a Book of Mormon! That was really cool as well!
The other experience was we were finally able to teach one of our investigators! Well we couldn't really teach him because he hadn't been reading, so we read with him. We read 2 Nephi 32-33 and it was super powerful! We asked him what he thought and he said, "It goes hand and hand with the Bible. It tells me I need to pray, have faith in Jesus, and that I can have eternal life. It says what the Bible says, so as of right now it's true, but I'll read more and see if there's anything else."  It was super cool! He said he's not ready to come to church yet, and he needs more time, but it was a cool little experience!
Anyways that's about it. We met a survivor from the Oklahoma City bombing and that was awesome! He said the explosion threw him the length of a semi into a wall... Pretty crazy! Anyways that's all I have for you this week. Keep the faith, and know that Christ truly loves all of us! Have a great week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week of October 28, 2013

So this week was a pretty long one. We had everything fall through, so we ended up knocking doors for about 4-6 hours a day. It's not the funnest thing to do in the world, but gotta be productive somehow right?
There were a few fun things this week, like we got to go to Zone Conference and listen to President speak, and we had a member feed us! That was the first time since I've been in Newcastle... But yeah, that was fun! The coolest thing that happened this week was we were knocking doors at around 7:30, and so it's dark. We had about 8 houses left, and then we were going to walk back to the apartment. Elder Fronk suggested that we pray, and so we set a goal that we wanted to pray with 3 people, and then we wanted to set 2 return appointments. Then we told our Heavenly Father our goal and asked Him to help us achieve it. Well the next house we knocked on, prayed and set a return appointment. 2 houses later we pray and set a return appointment, and the last house the people let us pray with them, but we didn't get a solid return appointment. It was a great example to me how our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, and helps you with your righteous desires!
The only other thing that happened was we had a guy try to save us. It was just a weird situation, but it really built my testimony because I had to sit there and keep testifying that the Book of Mormon will help him, and that me and 15 million other people know it's true, so he should try it out. But he wouldn't and so we parted ways. Except he thinks we're going to hell..... Haha which is harsh! Heavenly Father wants all of His children to be happy.
Well that's about all for this week. The week was rough, but the church is still true and there's still a prophet on the earth today! We're excited for this next week!
Hope all is well back home! I miss the mountains... I'm sick of being lost! Haha but oh well. Have a great week and God Bless!

P.S. We're going golfing today, so wish me luck!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week of October 21, 2013

This week was a much better week than last week! We were actually able to teach some people, and our other investigator is no longer in jail, so that's good! We were also able to get back in contact with the part member family and talk with them some more, so that was great! Just good to be back where we have appointments and can teach versus trying to find people to teach all day. So now we just need to take care of them!

I guess I'll start from the beginning. Monday we were able to teach a man named William. It was a good lesson, and he said he'd start reading and praying. So we're going to head by today and see if we can catch him and see how the reading is going! That was basically our Monday.

Tuesday we had gone over to see John and he was out of jail, so we got to teach him! It was really cool to see how much more calm he was this time, and how the spirit was there much quicker than last time. We asked him how it was going with stopping his smoking and drug usage and he said the two days after we left he was reading. Normally he gets up in the morning and smokes, but instead he was waking up and reading the Book of Mormon, and he said that he had no desire to smoke the rest of the day. Then he went to prison and got away from reading, and when he got out he didn't get back into reading so he relapsed. He told us that he was entering rehab though, and he was planning on getting off of drugs for good this time! So we're going to keep working with him! But we taught him the Doctrine of Christ, or Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. He really liked it, and when we talked about baptism he said he really wants to be baptized. So we made sure that he knew that he'd have to get off drugs and take care of any other warrants before he can do that. He said he just needs to pay off one warrant and he'll be clear, but he said he wants to have everything taken care of and wants to be baptized before Christmas! So we'll work with him on that! He's really starting to move in the right direction. It's just so cool to see the gospel work in his life, and how it's really filling him with the desire to change! It's been an awesome experience to see him feel the spirit and recognize it!

Later that day we had an appointment with a man named Jesse. He's Catholic, but he said he wants to learn more about our church. So we taught him and he said he'd begin to read the Book of Mormon. He's a huge basketball fan, so when I told him I played college basketball he was pretty excited, and he had me play with his son! So I got to play with his 8 year old son. It was a good way to kinda break the ice with him because he was kinda putting up a wall. You could tell he was nervous about us, but now he's more comfortable around us, which is great! So we should be working with him here as well!

Wednesday we had an appointment with a man named Lupe. He's someone who we'll refer to the Spanish elders if Lupe is serious, but the lesson went well! The coolest part about that though was how we were able to get a less active member to come out and help us teach. He was able to come feel the spirit of the lesson as he helped us translate things, and after he was talking to us about how he wants to advance in the priesthood. He came to church on Sunday and blessed the sacrament! So he's moving in the right direction! That was really cool though being able to get him out though and see him experience that!

Thursday was a lot of finding, and not a ton of success. Friday was pretty similar as well. It was really cold and rainy though, and some lady stopped her car for us and gave us an umbrella! That was really cool! That night though we stopped in the member's gym to warm up and we were talking to one of their sons who was working there. He's 15, and when we were about to leave he told us to just stay there and chill there. We told him we needed to get out and find people to teach, but if he could tell us what the 5 steps of the Doctrine of Christ were that we'd stay. Well after a lot of help from his dad he got it right. We then challenged him to teach us the Restoration. He went and got his Preach My Gospel and we showed him the points and walked through them as we taught him. It was fun because we really helped him understand things better and helped him learn how to talk to his friends about the restoration. His dad told us in church on Sunday that he felt the spirit really strong as we were there teaching his son, and that it was just an awesome sight to see his son with the missionaries. After we had taught his son Graze (that's what they call him), Griz told us that he wants to read Preach My Gospel more so he was prepared for a mission! So that was a really fun experience!

Saturday we had a really cool thing happen. We were out walking, and we were by the road where these cars were stopped at a red light. This car rolled down the window and the lady said, "Are you Mormons? How long do you do this?" So we told her for 2 years then she started telling us she was from St. Louis but then the light turned green so she had to go. So we were like "Dangit! Why'd the light have to turn green!" But not even joking about 30 seconds later we were crossing the street by a stop sign, and a car had just pulled up to the stop sign as we were crossing, and the lady inside rolls down her window and said "Are you guy's Mormons?" Haha so Elder Fronk and I walked up to her window and started talking to her. She told us her dad was Mormon and that she had a couple people trying to get her to the Mormon church. So we got her number and we're going to call her in a day or two to see if we can teach her! That was really cool though because if that first car wouldn't have stopped us then we would have already been across the street and the lady at the stop sign would have missed us! That really excited us!

Welp, that's about all from me. This week was really good! Training has been going well, and I'm loving my time with Elder Fronk! He's ready to get after it! I guess the big news is that on Wednesday Elder Fronk and I got permission to use the gym that the member owns! So now we'll be going three times a week and lifting! We went last week and I was so sore! Haha so this will be perfect!

Alright, well I gotta get going. Love you guys! Hope you have a great week! The church is true, and we are truly loved enough by God to have a living prophet on the earth today! I'm really grateful for that knowledge! Everyone be safe!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week of October 14, 2013

Well, this week was the L family baptism! It was just the coolest experience ever! They are such an amazing family, and they have amazing blessings ahead of them! It was an extremely exciting time for us, for them, and for the branch. We weren't expecting too many people to show up, but they completely filled up the Relief Society room, and after I got changed into some dry clothes and came back in for the end of the baptism program there was standing room only for me. It was so cool to see how many people came and supported them in this decision! It was the Blanchard branch's first family convert baptism, and it was the last one for them as a branch because during sacrament meeting it became a ward! The members here were so excited! One of the senior missionaries here was just beaming with excitement! I thought it was about to turn into some the scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the grandpa finds out they got a golden ticket and got up and started dancing. Haha he was really excited!

Sacrament meeting was really fun! Doing the confirmation was a blast! It was just such a cool experience being able to be a part of this family's journey, and I can't wait to go through the temple with them in a year to watch them be sealed! That will be such an amazing experience!
So the rest of the week was really slow. We set a couple of appointments for this week, so we'll see if we can keep them. It's interesting out here because people will set like 5 appointments with you before they finally just say they aren't interested. It makes it frustrating, but oh well. We'll see how this week goes!
We had a few really funny experiences. We went to see our investigator, and while we were locking up our bikes and walking into the trailer park where he lives, 3 cop cars pull in, pull up to his trailer and arrest him. So with nothing else to do really we just knocked on the doors around it. We were about to quit knocking but we just felt like there was someone who was prepared, so we figured we'd just knock the rest of them. Well we finally get to the last row of trailers, and we knock the first 2 and no one answers. Then while walking to the third one a guy wrecks on his motorcycle (nothing serious) and so we run over to lift the bike off of him. We tried talking to him, but he said he had to go and then just left. So we were walking some more and there was a guy working outside and so we went up to him and talked to him for about 20 minutes and he kept telling us how he wasn't invited to a birthday party a couple of trailers down. Haha so we tried to give him a Book of Mormon but he said he wouldn't read it and tried to convince us the Sabbath was on Saturday and that all the religions are doing it wrong... So we just kinda left and started walking back for lunch.

So on our way back there was a trailer with 3 confederate flags on it, and a lady is outside working on her porch. So we walk up and ask if we could help, but she said she had it. So we asked if we could pray with her, and she let us. After we prayed with her she told us she used to have a "Mormon Bible" and asked what it was about. So we gave her one and read the first paragraph with her, and we asked if she would read the last 2 paragraphs for us and she said, "Where it says 'We invite all men everywhere'? I already read it while you read that paragraph. It sounds interesting!" So either I'm a really slow reader or she's just ridiculously fast... Or both. Haha but yeah she's a speed reader! We had her turn to Moroni 10 and read vs. 4 and 5 and she read them out loud and said, "Wow that's powerful!" And we said, "You're right! It really is!" And she just like sped read the rest of the chapter and she kept on saying, "That's true... That's true... That's true..." Haha it was so cool! She said she'd read it and she might have finished the entire Book of Mormon by the time we got back to the apartment for dinner! Haha
The other funny experience was we knocked on a door and a guy came and we asked if we could pray with him and he started telling us him and Jesus are as close as he can get right now. Then he told us that if you take the meaning of the names of the people in Genesis 5 it makes a message, which actually was pretty cool! And then he told us that Jeremiah 10:1-5 prophecies that we'll all worship Christmas trees, and how they're Pagan and evil and a tool of the devil to trick us into worshiping him.... I don't know anyone that worships the Christmas tree... And then he told us that giants built the pyramids and the tower of Babel and that in Genesis 6 it talks about giants are made when the sons of God (angels) mate with daughters of men (regular women) and how it produces supernatural humans, that are giants, but they're also abominations and all this weird stuff. Haha Elder Anderson and I (we were on an exchange) were like, "How is this making you and Jesus close?" Haha but we asked him if he had heard of the Book of Mormon, and he said he's heard of it, but has never read it. We gave him one and he asked us if there were any prophecies about or in the Book of Mormon and so we told him the Book of Mormon prophecies about a ton of things, but the Bible prophecies of the Book of Mormon in Ezekiel 37:15-17. We read it with him and he really liked it! So yeah, we're going to go back over there to see what he thinks of the Book of Mormon! It was funny though.  While we were explaining the Book of Mormon and how it takes place in the Americas he went off for about 10 minutes about how there's evidence that giants lived in Ohio and how there's mounds that prove it. Haha I thought to myself "No, we aren't talking about Lebron James!" Haha but I resisted! Anyways it was a fun experience!

Well, that's about all from Newcastle this week. Hope everything is going well with you back in the real world! Keep the faith, the church is true! Love y'all!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week of October 7, 2013

What a week! First off, conference was just unbelievably powerful! What can I say more? I absolutely loved it!
Ok so this week has been crazy! We got a call from one of the APs and he told us that the car would be in Newcastle, so we get that! We still are biking as much as possible to make sure everybody and their 10 dogs (that's what the expression here in Oklahoma should be because everyone here really does have more than one dog!) knows that there are now missionaries in Newcastle! So we've biked around 20-25 miles within the last few days. It's been fun though!
My new companion is Elder Fronk! He went to high school at Bear River, and he played football and basketball there. He also remembers me when we played them in basketball my senior year! Small world! Haha he's great though and we're going to have a great transfer!
Wednesday night after I picked up Elder Fronk we were running all over the place getting Blanchard to their apartment, and then to dinner, so we had about 40 minutes to work. We found a couple and the wife told us she has a lot of Mormon family so she knows a lot about what we believe, but they said we can go back and talk to them which will be sweet! But that night we got to the apartment, got unpacked as much as we could before bed time. So we're laying in our beds, and then I shut of the lights and there was invisible glow in the dark paint EVERYWHERE all over the ceiling! Haha it was pretty creepy actually... But yeah there are some interesting surprises in the new apartment. The stairs to our apartment have spiders everywhere, and it's just not the nicest apartment, but it has a washing machine and a washer and dryer so we won't complain!
Thursday we went and knocked some doors. We were headed out to this neighborhood to knock doors out there, but we stopped in a trailer park short of where we were going to knock. We knock like 4 doorsand no one answers. The 5th one looked just unbelievably run down,  like no one lived there. But we knocked it anyways and someone yelled through the door and asked who it was, so we tell him who we were and that we were there to pray with him. A guy came out and said, "I really need a prayer." Well we pray for him and I'll make a really long, sad story short. He basically wanted us to drive him somewhere far away to get away from his problems. He invited us in to teach him, and he told us a little bit about his past. I won't go into it all, but his mother got him hooked on drugs and smoking when he was 5. When we first started talking to him you could tell he was just a wreck, and he had no desire to even live. He told us that this was the second time though that when he was about to fall off the edge missionaries have knocked on the door. GOD LOVES ALL HIS CHILDREN!!!! It was just so crazy to see how desperate and lost this guy was. Well he invited us in and we taught him the restoration. He told us like not even half way through that he wants to be baptized. I told him to get to that point is going to require a LOT of change, and that it will be a long process. He said he doesn't care, he wants to get rid of all the negative influences he's around. So we finished the lesson, gave him a Book of Mormon, and told him "That book you're holding will save your life." We also taught him the Word of Wisdom 1) because it will help him and 2) so we can see how bad he really wants to change. He said he would read as soon as we left and that he would stop smoking and drugs ASAP. He offered a kneeling prayer with us at the end and I asked him how he felt because the spirit was really strong. He pondered for a second and then looked at me and said, "I feel really calm." I testified to him right then that that was the Holy Ghost. It was a weird experience, but we hope he actually is wanting to change his life! He's going to have a crazy long journey, but God loves all his children and will provide a way!
We have a couple other people we're going to go back to see, but the people we're most excited about is a family of six that we found! We started teaching them the restoration, and I've never done this before but I felt like I should talk about eternal families. So I did and the wife said, "I really want to believe that! I hope that's true because everyone teaches that once you're dead the family is separated and you just hope to see them in heaven." So that was cool, but then the father had to leave, so we had to leave too because we can't be in a home without a male over the age of 16. But yeah, that was a crazy sweet miracle!
The last thing, and the most exciting thing is that the L family is getting baptized next Sunday the 13th! They had their interviews and are all ready to go! They asked me and Elder Owen to baptize them, so we'll each baptized 2, then we're each going to confirm one of the children in English during sacrament meeting, and our Branch Mission Leader is going to confirm the parents in Spanish. We're so excited about them! They're so prepared! The father is so knowledgeable about the Bible it's crazy! He asked Elder Owen for the lineage of Melchezidek. Haha he's extremely knowledgeable, and he's going to make an amazing member of the church!
Well, life here is great! Elder Fronk and I are working hard, and we're excited to see what happens these next few weeks!

Hope all is well back home! Keep the faith and feast upon the words of Christ!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week of September 30, 2013

Alright, well first things first- I am being transferred! I will be splitting Newcastle, so I'm excited about that! It's so weird to me... I'm going to have to grow up here shortly! Haha but I suppose that's not the worst thing that could happen.
So this week was amazing! Wednesday we had a really great experience! We went to Newcastle to work a bit and we stopped by a part member/less active's home and talked to them a bit. It was cool because she (the nonmember) talked about how prayers are answered and I just felt like I should share the experience about when I had a priesthood blessing and it healed my ankle. So I shared it and she asked, "What's the priesthood?" So we taught the restoration and things went great! It was really cool to see how the member still has a testimony, it's just buried pretty deep. He did a great job of helping us teach though! It was funny. I guess it dawned on her that only men could hold the priesthood so while we were talking she just said, "Chauvinist pigs!!!" Haha so we explained that, but the husband came to the rescue and said,  "You need to meet some of the women of the church. It's amazing how strong they are and how important they are to the church. We'll have to go sometime so you can see." He was telling us he struggled with the fact that we have so many commandments and that's why he left the church. He still reads the Book of Mormon and everything, but he said that Christ died for us because we can't keep all the commandments. But right before we left he said, "You know I will say this, when I was going to the Mormon church, even when I didn't agree with a lot of the stuff, I felt like I was blessed more then than any other time in my life." So we're hoping that they progress! And they're in Newcastle so I'll be able to keep up with them!
Friday I was on an exchange and we had a few cool experiences. The coolest one was we just stopped and talked with a lady on the street and we asked if we could pray with her. She said yes and when we asked what we could pray for she said she needs help getting over the loss of her son, so comfort and that she'll be able to get on with her life. So after the prayer we just started talking to her and stuff and told her that the message we share can help her understand where we're from, why we're here on this earth, who we are, and where we're going after this life. She wasn't living in either of our areas, so we told her that if she looks up the missionaries where she's living that they will help bless her life. We gave her a Book of Mormon and explained it, and she said she'd read it! It was just such a cool conversation, and we're really hoping she reads!
Saturday we taught someone that Elder Owen found while on his exchange.  He's such a nice guy! He's covered in prison tattoos though and can't drive for 10 years so we're wondering if we'll even be able to teach him or what's going on with that, but we'll teach him until we're told not to! He said he wants to get to know God so that he doesn't go to hell when he dies, and he wants to know how to read a Bible. We had him read a verse for us in the lesson and he pretty much can't read.  He doesn't know who Moses is, or Noah, and he's in a really rough situation in his life, but he wants to make a change, and wants to come to church. He'll be someone that I hope Elder Owen doesn't give up on! We don't know if we can baptize him, but I'd imagine that someone who wants to change as bad as he does will be ok. I wish I could teach him more! Like with him it's starting at the basics, and helping him understand God's love for him, and I think that would be so much fun to teach him and watch that change his life!
Yesterday we taught the L family. Oh my gosh that family is so prepared! So the dad was telling us about a dream that he had. He said that someone told him to put his face up against a rock, and a huge tsunami came and crashed down on them, and it washed everything away but his family was still pressed up against the rock and they were ok. So the scripture Helaman 5:12 says, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." So we shared that with him and his eyes just lit up! It was so cool! And he shared a couple other dreams in  Spanish with the branch mission leader so I couldn't understand them, but still the dream he had was unbelievable! Hahaha I was sitting there like, "I had a dream I was a Powe Ranger once..." Haha
Anyways, they're all just so in tune with the Spirit, and they're just so solid! So we set a date with them for October 13! We're so excited for them! They've been so prepared it's not even funny! I just love how Christ's promise worked in their life. "Seek and you shall find." Like he knew his family needed to be baptized, but he knew he needed to find the right church first, and he knows this is the true church. He's read the Bible 4 times! Haha it was funny though one of the first questions he asked us yesterday was if we celebrate Halloween. He said that if we celebrated Halloween then they were never coming back. Haha but the mission leader did a great job of explaining how the church isn't an institution that controls every decision. It gives guidelines and the father is the patriarch of the home and that they choose for their family what's appropriate. Haha the other funny thing was he heard we have multiple wives so we told him no and his wife said, "I said I don't care if they do, just make me the queen wife and you can have one to cook and one to clean and one to do laundry" hahaha and she was like totally cool with that idea! Haha oh man I just love that family! I'm excited to still be in the branch so I can watch them progress!
That's about it for this week though. It was a pretty big week! I'm hoping that this week will be a good one. Going to be knocking on a ton of doors! Haha but that will be good for the new missionary right? Well for me too. Haha but I'll be in a bike area for the next while! That will be exciting as well! I'll be out in the cold biking around. Doesn't that just sound right up my alley? Haha I'm hoping to that this week is successful so we have a ton of investigators again so I won't have to be out in the cold knocking doors! Haha we'll see what happens though.
Alright well I'm going to get going. Hope all is well back home! Pray for me because I'm going to need all the help I can get! Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week of September 23, 2013- It's a boy!

Yup! I'm getting a son! Haha I don't feel that I'm ready to train, but ready or not I'll have a brand new missionary a week from Wednesday! I'm excited and kind of nervous at the same time, but we'll see how this goes! I just hope I don't have to split an area as well... We were told we'll both be training, and one will still train in Blanchard and the other will be training and splitting a new area, and they wouldn't tell us where... Anyways we're really excited!

So not much happened this week until Friday, but after Friday we had an AMAZING week! So Friday night we were able to teach our downstairs neighbor and his wife joined in this time! We taught them the Restoration, and things went great! They committed to read and pray, and told us that they would like it if we came and read with them. And since they're just downstairs we'll be able to do that frequently! But at the end of the lesson the wife told us that living in the apartments was the last place she wanted to live, but they felt like they should live there and they didn't know why. She said she doesn't think its a coincidence that we (missionaries from our church) moved in upstairs just a couple months after them! She said that there must be a reason for it, but they're going to read and pray to know that it's true before they make a decision. But it was so exciting that she said that, and a week before her husband said pretty much the exact same thing!

So we finished the lesson at 8:55, and we aren't supposed to go inside until 9, so we went for an obedience walk. We walked to the mailbox and on our way back a couple of guys who were smoking and drinking on their balcony said,  "What's up guys?" So we walked over and just talked to them from down below them and one of the guys was from St. Louis, and he had Cardinals all over him so it was obvious he was a cool guy, but he said he was investigating the church in 1996 when sisters were here! He said that it's really cool because the things in the Book of Mormon are being scientifically proven, and that their finding blood from Jerusalem in the Native Americans. He said he's moved a ton so he didn't know where he put his Book of Mormon and so I said, "Well how about we give you one right now then?" So I walked up and gave him one, and his friend asked what we believe so I gave him an Articles of Faith card. He asked us where we thought heaven was and that everyone else says it's up, yet it's not up because telescopes look all over and can't see it. He said he's a scientology believer or whatever. So we said that we'd love to talk to him more about that and that we think what we have to share would actually make sense to him. Then he asked us if we believe the Holy Ghost could come from a different planet.... And if the 12 tribes could have come from 12 different galaxies, and if there's other life out there that God is the God over. He said he believes there's a God, and that someone had to create all this, but there has to be other life forms out there because of how big the universe is. So we want to get in and talk with him!

Saturday we taught a young mother. She has a 6 year old boy, a 6 week old daughter, and her husband is deployed. She's a history major, and so she said she'd definitely read the Book of Mormon because she's interested in the history aspect of if! She's way super busy, which shoot I don't even know how she does it all by herself, but her husband is coming back in a couple weeks, so she'll have more time then to read. But yeah it was really cool because at first it was a "well you guys are giving up your time to share this so i'll give up some time to hear what you have to say" and now she's a serious investigator!

Then that night we found out that we'd be training so we went out to eat, and the place we had one waitress and one lady in there eating. So we go in and the waitress takes our order and she starts asking a ton of questions about our religion and talks with us about our missions for a while! And the other lady in there paid for our meal which was way nice of her! Just tender mercies and miracles everywhere!

Haha so last thing real quick is that we taught the family that has been coming to church yesterday during church. We have to teach them then because of how busy they are, but the father told us he knows the Book of Mormon is true, and that he feels that he needs to bring his family to this church for some reason, so he is. He just wants to learn a little more, but he basically said he wanted to be baptized when he finds that out! So we're just so excited about them!

Gosh this was just such an amazing week! Thank you guys so much for all your prayers! They truly are being answered!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week of September 16, 2013

So I'm pretty sure that all my subjects in all my emails are about how great the weeks have been. But every week is great when you get to do this! Like there are definitely hard times and all, but overall life here is special and just way fun! So yeah, that's why all the weeks are good!

Happy birthday to Adam last Saturday and Mom on Friday! Good for you guys! You made it another one! Haha... no but love you guys and I'm sorry I missed it, but know I would have loved to have been there!

Alright so this week was awesome, but the best stuff happened Tuesday! I should have known that it would be one of the most memorable days of my mission because we went to Olive Garden for lunch! Haha that right there should have told me that it would be a special day! But the reason it was special is because we were sitting in our car and Elder Owen was sending a text. While we were waiting, our downstairs neighbor walked up to the car (we were parked outside the apartment) and he asked what we were doing. We said we were about to go to someone's house to "teach them the word of God" and he said, "You wanna do that with me sometime?" We didn't know if he was kidding or not because he's always joking with us, but he set up a time and we met with him and taught him! He wants to change his life and we are so excited to help him!

We had a lesson with the Pitmans! Haha they bought us that game "Shut the Box" which will be fun! I might send it home so you can play with it but we have fun playing with them! But we taught them about how important the Book of Mormon is and committed them to read it and pray about it. We went over with them what it means if the Book of Mormon is true. It means three things. First,  it means that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Second, it means that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Third, it means that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's kingdom on the earth and that it is being led by Jesus Christ himself. We're excited for them to read and we're hoping they will!

Yesterday the Linares family came to church again! They're really great and we're planning on setting a baptismal date with them this week! We're so excited for them and they really are a special family! We're extremely excited to teach them this upcoming week!

Well that's about all that happened. We have a couple referrals we should start teaching this week, and we get to do a fireside with the youth and help them learn how to effectively share the gospel with their friends. We're super excited for this week and we're hoping that we can keep up with all that should be going on!

I need to get going, but I love you all! Hope all is well back home! The church is true and the everlasting gospel blesses my life daily! I'm so thankful for it! Have a great week!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week of September 9, 2013

Wazzzgood??? So before I get started with what happened this week let me teach you some Oklahoma lingo! So here in Oklahoma you don't say "when I was..." you say "whenever I was..." They never say when! For example one person was saying, "Whenever I was baptized in 1990..." So yeah that's the thing I've really been noticing, and it's going to take some getting used to...
So we had a couple really amazing experiences this week! The first bit of big news is the Blanchard area is getting split! So now Blanchard will only cover Blanchard, Washington, and Dibble. So yeah, that will be nice! We just never could make it out to Newcastle because it's just so far out! But since we'll have about 215 missionaries in this mission next transfer they're opening 5-7 areas to put them all! To give you a perspective of the growth of this mission, there were about 115 missionaries in Oklahoma City last year before the announcement. So yeah, things are beginning to happen here! But we did some apartment searching for the Newcastle missionaries, and spent quite a bit of time figuring out a fair split between the two areas with our Branch President. The new missionaries will be coming in on October 2 so we're kinda in a rush trying to get things ready for them!
Yesterday at church we had an amazing experience! So we were in Branch Council, and when we get out and walk into the chapel to get ready for sacrament meeting we saw the Linadas (previously referred to as the Spanish Family) family sitting there! All 5 of them! It was so exciting! Some background with them, they are from El Salvador, and their names are Carmine (the mom), Jugo (dad), Juan (20 year old son), Abigail (16 year old daughter) and Moses (my guess is a 5 year old boy). He has down syndrome and is the cutest kid ever! All of them except the father had been taught the first lesson, and they accepted baptism, but they wanted to check with the father first before they continue. So they talked to Jugo and he said he wanted to read the Book of Mormon before they continued. So about 3 weeks ago we got him a Spanish Book of Mormon. He's a truck driver for Walmart, so he's gone a ton. Well we found out he had been reading, so we had our Branch Mission Leader (who's from El Salvador as well!!!) invite them to church on Saturday. Well he did, and sure enough they showed up! They all went home after the first hour because Jugo had gotten home from work at 2 in the morning (church starts at 9:30 so we were thrilled he came anyways!) so he was going to go back and take a nap, except Abigail stayed and went to Young Women and loved it! So that was really cool as well! Then after the Sagastizados (the Branch mission leader's family) invited them over to lunch and us as well. So we went and had lunch with them and just got to know them and be around them! It was so cool! They gave us a ride back to our place because we were on the way, and on the way home we asked Jugo about how his reading was going. He said he was already in Alma, and that he really likes it! He said he can't stop reading it, and every chance he gets he reads! I get chills just even writing about it!!!!!!!!! The Book of Mormon is just so powerful!!! Anyways he said he always wondered how people got across the ocean from the middle east to the Americas, and now he knows! But he also said, "Anytime you guys want call us and you can come eat dinner with us. Just let us know! And I want you guys to teach my family the word of God!" We're soooo excited! That means we get to teach them AND eat Papusas with them! We can't wait!
After that we went to eat at a member's house (the Dills) for dinner. The Dills invited another family, the Andersons. The Andersons have 2 little kids and one of them was so cute! I guess he keeps bugging President Nelson to let him sing in sacrament meeting. So we asked him what song he would sing, and he said, "Jesus loves me!" So we asked him to sing it for us and his face got all serious and he sang it for us. haha and then later we were talking to them about their missionary work and we got into a conversation about it, and he raised his hand and after like 3 minutes we finally "called" on him haha and he said, "Why don't I get to talk but you guys get to?" So we said, "Ok. What do you want to say?" And he said, "I know that Jesus watches me when I sleep, and Jesus watches me when I'm alive, and I remember when I was in my mommy's tummy and I saw him! And he also stops my dad from getting boo boos, and watches my boo boos when I sleep.... I LOVE JESUS!!!!!!" And he jumped in the air haha it was so cute! It was such a powerful testimony though!
So that was pretty much my week. I played a fun game with the Pitmons last night! We played a dice game called "Shut the Box" That was such a fun game! She said she'll order me one, so we'll see maybe I'll get to show you!
Well, we gotta get going. But life here is great! I'm so excited to see things happen in this branch! People are ready for the fullness of the gospel!
Thank you all so much for the support!
Love you so much!
Elder Ott

PS Elder Owen and I are still running every morning! I'm staying in shape the best I can- don't worry!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week of September 2, 2013

So I had an extremely cool thought the other day while we were riding our bikes outside in the light rain... I'm living the dream!!! Like I dunno it doesn't feel like it but as I stepped back and thought about it, I really am! I've wanted to be a missionary for such a long time, and the time is here! I dunno it was a crazy cool thought!

This was a great week in this part of the vineyard! Brother Blake from the Norman 4th ward finally got back from Utah, so we finally met with the people he wanted us to meet with! So he told me that he hopped on his wife's facebook account and sent ya a message. I was still confused on that whole thing, but I think I got it now! Anyways she's super nice and received the message very well. She's going to read and pray, and when she comes to know these things are true she's working to be baptized on September 28! And her mother was there unexpectedly and she's going to work to be baptized on that date as well! It was pretty cool!

Yesterday we had an investigator come to church! It was Alice. We're so excited for her to continue to progress! She's the one who said she feels like there's a huge hole in her life. She was asking us why we as 19 year olds should be teaching her, a 66 year old, about this stuff. She's like, "Were you guys born Mormon?" and we said yes. She looked me dead in the eyes and said,  "Well then why are you Mormon?" I looked at her and said, "I'm Mormon because I came to know for myself these things are true, and when I went to college I had to make a choice. I had to chose if I wanted to live the way everyone else lives, or if I wanted to live the way my parents raised me, and the way I know that I'm supposed to live. I had to chose if I wanted to go to church or sleep through it. I had to make choices, and I chose to live how the church teaches us to, and that made me happy!" She really liked that answer. Anyways she came to church and said she loved it! She was telling us how she prays to find answers from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, flips to a random page and then finds it. She says it's so cool and she's loving it!

We were out walking around Washington and a guy just called us over. He asked what we were selling, then he saw our name tags and he said, "Oh you're sellin some Jesus!" And we laughed and I said "Yup! He's free 99!" Haha but he asked us what the difference between us and Baptists is (we get that question about.... Oh 20 times per week. Haha) But we taught him some restored truths and gave him a Restoration Pamphlet. He said, "I'm going to read this!" We asked where he lived and he told us Oklahoma City, and told us to send missionaries out to him! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said, "This stuff might change my mind about a lot of things!" He told us he sprayed a church building in Moore (for bugs or whatever) and that for some reason that building had been on his mind all the time for a couple days. I got chills when he was telling us that! Anyways that was such a cool miracle! 

So things in Blanchard are going great! We're so happy to be here in Blanchard and to see things happening! Our Branch is becoming more and more missionary minded every week! We're having a blast! 

Hope everything is going well with you guys! Have a great week and God Bless!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week of August 26, 2013

Que Paso????

Think that means what's up... I dunno. Haha so I've been emailing back and forth with Elder Larsen! He's going to be one stud of a missionary! I also started emailing Elder Stoker! I wish I had more of these guys email addresses because I want to see how they're doing!

Alright this week was another great one! This Branch is ready to splode! That's how our branch mission leader says it. He's from El Salvador so he's got a pretty good accent. But the branch is working! We have a lot of referrals coming our way, and a couple of pretty solid investigators we found through our own efforts. We'll be teaching 2 referrals with members present this week, which will be so great!

Just a couple of the cooler stories this week. So Elder Owen and I LOVE going to Washington! Every time we go there we have great experiences! We went and visited with an older guy named Oliver. We talked to him a while ago and he keeps telling us we're 2 of the nicest people he's ever met. He loves how we live such clean lives, and just is so impressed by us. He also played basketball in college back in his day. He's from Missouri, he's a huge Cardinals fan, and he's just an awesome guy! He brought out his wife and we just talked for a while. He asked us if we've heard about the Amish Mafia.... It was a joke but still it was weird and really funny! But they want to take us to dinner so we're excited. They're just the coolest people!

After that we stopped by Chuck's house. Chuck is a nice guy too. He's been going through an extremely tough time, and he's searching for the calm, peace and love that comes from the Holy Ghost! He said he felt it when he "got saved" but hasn't felt it since. He was praying for that feeling to come back a couple of weeks ago, and that's about the time we knocked on his door. We're going to have to help him realize that it's all connected, but he's someone that the gospel can help so much! The gift of the Holy Ghost will give him exactly what he, and everyone in this world, is looking for. It brings such a sense of peace, joy, and sense of love to your life. We're really excited to continue to help him with that!

After that (this is all on the same day in Washington) we had an appointment with a less active (who's working her way back to activity) and her daughter. She wants to take the lessons again because she's been less active for so long and her daughter wants to turn her life away from all drinking and smoking and drugs. She wants something positive in her life. She set a baptism date for September 28, and she's working toward it. We know she can do it, but she's going to have to really want it!

So one of our investigators was doing some research on the church... When we walked in to meet with him he had a 47 page Wikipedia article about Joseph Smith... He said, "I wanted to go back to the source of all this," so that's how he did it. He was blown away by the stuff it said. He actually gave it to us and told us to read it. It was a lot of facts, but they were written in a very slanderous way. The funny thing is looking through the sources almost every source was the same guy. But anyways back to the lesson. He said he could never believe a book written by that man was true. I asked him, "Do you believe the Book of Mormon isn't true because of the chapter you read out of it, or because of this article you read?" He said it was because of the article, and that he wants to read from the beginning all the way through! It was cool to see how he was willing to put aside all the garbage he read on Joseph Smith and to read the book and to pray about it to know if it was true! He said there's a 0% chance he'll be a Mormon, and that the Book of Mormon isn't going to change him, but we'll leave that between him and God.

That's about it. We had a really cool chat with Buddhist guy John. That's what we call him haha. We have John the Baptist, John the Beloved, and John the Buddhist! He's such a great guy! And we love talking with him!

Well, the Church is true! We're seeing a lot of really cool miracles here. I appreciate the prayers so much! I'm so thankful for the members around the world for all the support the offer us as missionaries!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week of August 19, 2013

So we had a pretty great week this week! Not a ton of special things, but there were a couple cool things I learned and a new game I'm addicted to!

We taught a really cool lesson to a guy named Burl. He had a ton of questions and we were able to answer almost all of them. One that we didn't really have time to answer was, "Do you guys believe in a Heaven and Hell? Because I believe that Jesus loves us way to much to cast someone into an eternal hell." Which is a valid point. Well yesterday in my personal study I read Alma 42. It's Alma speaking to his son Corianton. In the very first verse he says something along the lines of,  "I know that you are concerned that Christ will cast people into hell." That's not exactly what it says, but it's the exact question that Burl has. It resolves that concern through explaining justice. It was so perfect! We now know how to teach Burl!

Other than that not a ton happened. We taught a family which was cool! They cancelled their return appointment so we're hoping that doesn't mean that they are dropping us... We'll see!

Ok so this game that we play is called Book of Mormon baseball. Love it! So my companion will start flipping through the pages until I say stop. I say left or right for the page, then left or right for the column. He says all the verses on that column (the number has to be on that column- not a partial verse) and then I'll pick a number. He reads the verse, then I have to tell him the book and chapter. You get 3 strikes. If you get it right first try you hit a home run, second try is a double, third try is a single, if you get it wrong it's an out. 3 outs in an inning just like baseball. It's so fun! It's a great game to play when you're just out walking! Anyways we had fun with that one.

Well I'm doing a mini exchange with my district leader because he's getting transferred and one of his investigators wants to go play frisbee golf and his companion doesn't want to go. So here we go! I get to play some frolf!

Hope all is well with you guys. The church is true, the restored gospel is what brings true and everlasting happiness, and President Monson is a true, inspired, and living prophet that helps guide us through this crazy world we live in. And even though he's the president of the church, he isn't the head of the church. Christ truly is the head of this church, and what a blessing it is to be a part of it!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week of August 12, 2013

So this week was a great one! The week started off really slow because all of our appointments were dropped and everyone is getting ready for school. Almost everyone was on vacation. But it was still good. We got to talk to a lot of interesting people, and we have some appointments this week so we're excited! We find out if we're getting transferred next Sunday, so if you're going to send something to me either Friday or Saturday be sure to send it to the mission office. That way if I get transferred it won't get sent to where I'm not. I don't think I'll get transferred- just a heads up.
But anyways the last couple of days were amazing! We had one creepy, yet very cool experience. We were out in Washington (every time we go to Washington something amazing happens I swear) meeting with a former investigator. Previous missionaries had lost contact with her when they left the area, and they said she is pretty much golden. So we had the appointment scheduled, but we were standing outside a member's house talking with them just for a second so we could wait for her to get home (her car was gone). We were talking and this lady comes from across the street completely intoxicated, and tells us that her mom was threatening to commit suicide and she needed our help. Her mom is less active in our ward. We go in with the members that were there talking with us (both were high priests) and talked with her. She was intoxicated herself. Well they were getting kicked out of the house by the owner and had no where to go, and she's older and is on oxygen and she just was so lost and didn't know what to do so she turned to drinking. We talked to her and calmed her down. The daughter isn't a member. She was worrying too and while the members were talking to her Elder Owen was very strongly prompted to give her a Book of Mormon. He dug through my backpack and gave it to her, and she promised she would read the entire thing. We're going back tomorrow hoping she's read some and that she's sober. She was very serious though when she said she would read it! We really might be able to work with her!
Well that happened for like a half hour, and so we walked down the street to knock on Alice's door (the one who we had scheduled to go see) and her car wasn't there. We had written her a note and were just about to walk away when she pulled up! So if that whole thing above wouldn't have happened then we would have missed her! We had an amazing lesson with her! She was a referral from a family in our branch (one of the high priests who was there with us right before) from a couple years ago. Well Alice is the most prepared person for the gospel I could ever imagine. She said she just feels like half of her is missing, she's been depressed for the last while, she had been reading the Book of Mormon that she had been given by the previous missionaries, she was marking it up and everything, she recognized that she felt the spirit when the missionaries were over before and while we were there, she recognized she was feeling the spirit when she went to church with the family that referred her, she's just been ready! But she was looking for a purpose in life so we started teaching her the Plan of Salvation. We talked about where we were from, and our purpose here is to have joy. Well she said, "How can I have that joy? I want that joy so badly!" We immediately felt we needed to change gears and teach the Doctrine of Christ. We shared with her that true joy that she had felt when the missionaries were there before came from the spirit, and she recognized that. She kept saying throughout the lesson she wanted to be baptized and when we explained that when we are baptized and keep the covenants we make with God then God is bound to bless us with the Holy Spirit, and that is the joy and peace she was looking for. She wants to be baptized and she's scheduled for September 7th! She's just the nicest lady and she is so loving!
Well that's basically all that happened this week. Like I said before we do have some return appointments and we are going to have some good experiences this week! Oh! We ran into a Buddhist guy the other day, the most Christ-like man ever! He loves missionaries and wants us to come over! He probably won't progress too much, he's had missionaries over a ton before, but he's just such a nice guy and will be fun to talk to!
Ok well I hope you all have a great week! Good luck in school! Love you guys!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wee 6- August 5, 2013

Hello from the campus here at Oklahoma University! Yes, Uncle Craig, I am in enemy territory... Haha I keep my mouth shut around here that I prefer Texas over OU, but I dunno- this place isn't all that bad. There's Longhorn logos upside-down everywhere around here! I knew they didn't like each other but DANG! Like they're buying Longhorn logos just so they can put them upside-down! Haha just kinda funny.

So I learned a ton this week! There was a lot of good that happened! It was a tough week. None of our investigators will set a return appointment, our baptism dates dropped and they aren't sure anymore, and yeah. It's a busy time of year though with school starting up so we'll keep working!

One quick thing that they do out here that Utah needs to adopt. They do "Tax Free weekend" where all clothes and shoes are tax free for back to school shopping! That would be nice!

So one more thing before I get into what I learned I'll share some quick experiences. We had one great teaching experience out in Washington. I was on an exchange with Elder Garner from South Jordan and we felt like we needed to get out there and see him. We drove out there and he was standing outside his house. We talked to him and we just began teaching. Preach my Gospel says, "Instead of asking if they have a minute so you can share a message, immediately start teaching," so that's what we did! We taught him the restoration. He said he likes learning about different religions, and was telling us about what he knows. Anyways he said, "I just hope the spirit was with those who were on the council compiling the Bible. Who's to say they didn't leave something out that they should have kept in?" We got so excited when we heard that! We gave him a Book of Mormon and explained how we got it and why it's important! He said he'll read it and pray about it. His name is Tracy. He's the husband of Janette, the lady that we talked to last week. He let us pray with him a while ago and he said something along the lines of "I already go to a church but I guess you can come back." We get that a ton. "If you guys can catch me then you can come back I guess." Then we'll go back like 5 times and they'll finally tell us they aren't interested. That darn Okie Hospitality!

The other cool experience was this morning we had the opportunity to do some service. The Spanish family that I think I've written about, well, we finally got contact with them. Turns out their house is basically empty and they have almost nothing, so we had a member in our ward who had a bunch of stuff from a garage sale that he didn't sell (things like pillows, blankets, plates, cups, knives, etc...) that we went and gave them! It was really cool and so much fun to see how thankful they were for it! They're such a nice family!

Ok last one which is more funny. So remember that lady who stood up for us to her husband? Well we went and knocked on their door and her husband was sitting there and we could see him and he's like shewing us away. Well Elder Owen and I both just started looking around. Like anywhere but at him so he finally came to the door and started cursing us out and we just stood there, wait for him to finish then said, "Is Carolyn here?" He wasn't too happy. Well anyways we tried back a couple days later and he has some bounce in his step! He hopped right out of his chair to come curse us out! So we just waited, asked if Carolyn was there, then left. It was pretty funny how fired up he is about us not teaching Carolyn! We might just send him a letter asking for his permission to teach Carolyn. I dunno just to show respect toward him. We'll see how that goes I guess.

So this week was temple conference! The temple here is really really small. But it was so sweet! President Walkenhorst and I talked a ton. We talked a ton about basketball, all the experiences and places he got to go and fun things he got to do then all the things I got to do. He really wants to come back and watch me play I guess! That will be really fun! He's such a cool guy though! I learned something amazing from him. He read 2 Nephi 2:4 to us and told us what he thought Lehi was telling Jacob. His interpretation was, "Jacob, I know you didn't see all those miracles we had. And you won't see Jesus either. But the spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The spirit will testify of these truths, and you will feel the same feelings as the people who will walk beside Jesus, touch him, and witness the miracles he performs. That same spirit will testify to you. So you don't need to see Christ. You don't need to see Joseph Smith or the Gold Plates. The spirit you feel testifying of it's truth will feel the same as if you are seeing it." I thought that was really cool!

The next thing I learned was that people really don't know our purpose here.  In Ecclesiastes there's a verse that says, "Our spirits will return to God." That's not exactly the wording, but it says return. Question. How can we return somewhere we've never been? Boom. Pre-earth life! Ok but hold up. What's our purpose here? Well let's see. If it's just to be with God and Christ, then why did we come here in the first place? Analogy time!

You have $100. You worked hard for this money, and you love this money. Would you give it to me hoping that you'd get the same $100 back, but knowing that most likely you're going to get maybe $70 back if you're lucky? That doesn't sound like a smart business deal... Isn't God supposed to be smart?

Now would you give me that same $100 knowing that you were going to get some jewels, and some diamonds, and some gold out of it? That seems smarter to me.

Ok so why would we have come here if our goal is to confess Christ and be satisfied with life? Don't get me wrong, that's part of our purpose, but why would we want to go back to live with our Heavenly Father the same way we came? Shouldn't we want to go back with a body, having done everything that we can to improve, gaining as much knowledge as we can, becoming LIKE Him? Why would he send the children He loves so much down here, knowing that some wouldn't make it back. I think that there's a really really good reason for it.... The only reason I can think of that would be good enough is if we came back able to have all He has. That's the only thing worth the risk!

Next thing is I've been wondering a ton about what it means to be saved. Everyone here "got saved when I was 13" or "I was saved when I was 25". Saved from what? Well thanks to True to the Faith I know! So confessing Christ does mean we're saved. But we are saved from 6 things and not all of them can be done just by confessing Christ.

1) We are saved from sin. Not saved IN sin, but FROM sin. That means that we can't just keep sinning. The girls we were teaching know repentance to be ABC. Admit, Believe, Confess. Well when I heard that I was like, "Ok can we put a D in there?" They were confused, not knowing what the D could stand for. I said "Don't do it again!" Haha but yes confessing Christ does save us from sin. However we are never fully done with being saved from sin until we become perfect or die. Most of us will die first.

2) We are saved from death. This means that because of Christ's atonement, and because of the resurrection we will be reunited with our bodies. Everyone on earth gets that gift.

3) We are saved from a second death. This means that if we confess Christ we won't experience a spiritual death after the resurrection. Almost everyone will be saved from this.

4) We are born again. I didn't really understand this prior to this morning. We are, as Jesus and the Book of Mormon teach, born again when we are baptized BY THE PRIESTHOOD AUTHORITY OF GOD. That part gets overlooked out here. Everyone must do this, or else you cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. (It's like being pulled over by an ice cream truck vs being pulled over by a policeman. One you won't pay the ticket because he doesn't have the authority to give you a ticket. The other is one you are going to pay because they had that authority given to them. Same thing with the priesthood.  We believe that authority has been physically given to us through Joseph Smith by Peter, James, and John, who received it from Christ himself.)

5) We are saved from ignorance. We are saved from not knowing the truth because we know, and accept the full restored gospel. Because of all this knowledge we are saved from ignorance.

6) We can inherit the kingdom of God (aka the Celestial Kingdom or Heaven). We cannot obtain this until the judgement day. No mortal can obtain this. So yeah, no one on this planet is saved like this. 

So these are the 6 ways we are "saved" (see Salvation in True to the Faith). So yes a lot of people out here are partially right. Most everyone has already been saved in at least 2 ways, and 3 ways if they're Christian. But the blessing the Church gives to us is the opportunity to be saved the other 3 ways. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE SHOULD LISTEN TO US!!!!! Hahaha but oh well. 

Well I hope that you guys learned something from all this. A lot of this is just thoughts and I guess personal revelation I received this week. And I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it!

Well the work that we've been doing has been great- it truly has! But we in the Oklahoma City mission believe the Lord has a greater work for us to do! (D&C 35:3) Sorry I wish I had my scriptures with me so I could give you guys more references so you didn't think I was making all this up. But I pulled them out and replaced them with shorts, a shirt, and my shoes! We about to go hoop! Haha but I love you all! I get so fired up about this stuff because I want everyone to have these blessings, and I don't see why people turn them down. It's not that I want everyone to be a Mormon. I want everyone to be baptized into our church so they can truly be saved! And all the blessings of family and love and all that other stuff that I didn't even begin to touch on in this email. I'm sure you all have heard Dad's thoughts on love! If not ask him about it because it will give you quite the perspective on life! Haha

Well we gotta get going. Just know I'm being taken care of very well out here! The people here are amazing! I love being here and I'm excited to see what this week brings! Like one of the apostles once said, "Come what may, and LOVE IT!" 2 Nephi 2:27 "Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy." Everything in this life is for our joy! Things that are hard and sorrowful only teach us how to be more happy. So be happy! That's why everything happens to us!

Love you guys!